Supreme Court refuses Asaram Bapu plea for suspension of sentence, asks him to move HC to permit ayurvedic care

The petition filed by the octogenarian self-styled godman said his health was precarious and ‘rapidly deteriorating’.

March 01, 2024 12:50 pm | Updated 02:28 pm IST - New Delhi

Asaram Bapu. File

Asaram Bapu. File | Photo Credit: PTI

The Supreme Court on March 1 refused to intervene in a petition filed by Asaram Bapu challenging a Rajasthan High Court decision rejecting his plea for suspension of the sentence on medical grounds in a case of rape of a minor.

A Bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna, however, gave the octogenarian self-styled godman liberty to approach the High Court seeking permission for treatment at an ayurvedic hospital.

The top court also requested the High Court to expeditiously decide Bapu’s pending appeal in the case.

The petition filed by Asaram, through advocates Rajesh Inamdar and Shashwat Anand, said his health was precarious and “rapidly deteriorating”.

It said the godman had already served 11 years of imprisonment. Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Devadutt Kamat, who appeared for Asaram, said he had “suffered a series of heart attacks and his coronary angiography report of January 14 showed arterial blockages of up to 99%”

“The petitioner who is in the twilight of his life, aged more than 85 years, is apprehending that he may die in jail if he is not allowed to take treatment from a hospital/doctor of his choice which is fundamental right granted to every person regardless of the fact whether he is a convict or an undertrial,” Asaram’s plea stated.

It had argued that a suspension of the sentence was imperative to safeguard not only his health but also to prevent the imposition of a punishment that could be tantamount to a death sentence.

The self-styled godman was convicted by the Special POCSO court at Jodhpur and sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a teenage girl in his ashram. He is serving a life sentence in Central Jail, Jodhpur.

In January 2023, a Gandhinagar Sessions Court in Gujarat had also convicted Asaram in another rape case and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

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